Dick Jerardi doesn’t care where a single comes in a bet sequence: “The way I look at it, there are two possibilities: I am going to be right or I am going to be wrong. When that is determined is irrelevant.”
Breeders’ Cup Turf Trends: It’s all about the finish.
As much as I’d like to think Excelebration will be the second-favorite to Wise Dan in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (and available at 3-1 or better), raceday betting will probably look more like the current ante-post odds.
Appreciating Frankie Dettori, “global proponent of la dolce vita.”
Curiously, Frankel appears doomed not to produce a son or daughter who is superior to him. The Racing Post’s bloodstock expert, Tony Morris, writes: “No horse rated 138 has ever sired a horse rated 138 or above. Frankel may well get plenty of good runners, and I hope he does, but I can guarantee he will never sire his equal; he is the ceiling, and regression to the mean dictates that all his stock will be inferior to him.”
This is probably also true of Beyer speed figures. Has a horse who has peaked at 120 or above ever sired an equal? Ghostzapper topped out at 128 (in the 2004 Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park); Contested and Hunters Bay, two of his best progeny, certainly haven’t come close to such a number.
The Champion Stakes wasn’t Frankel’s most brilliant win (replay), but it didn’t have to be. His winning margin was 1 3/4 lengths, well below his average, and the provisional ratings of 139 from Timeform and 137 from Racing Post put the race slightly below his best. But he exits a perfect 14-for-14, and that’s what everyone in the stands at Ascot was there to see.
Sad as his retirement might be, take comfort that Frankel will endure:
One day far in the future, after all those who will watch his final race at Ascot are gone, a horse may win a Classic at Epsom or maybe Newmarket, and someone in the grandstand will trace through its pedigree, come upon the name of Frankel and think to themselves: “Ah, the mighty Frankel. Now there’s a horse I’d have loved to see racing.”
Today, though, wouldn’t you like to hug Frankel too?
“I’ve enjoyed every moment of it,” says rider Tom Queally. So have we.
3:10 PM Addendum: Love this detail from Sporting Life’s Champions Day live blog: “Even the Queen hung around to look at this incredible beast.”
10/21/12 See Also: From the BBC, facts about Frankel, such as, his total winning margin in 14 races was 76.25 lengths.
From half a mile out, it’s like having someone suck all the energy out of your own horse…. He kills off the opposition. He breaks hearts…. you’ll watch him go by and just lengthen away into the distance. It’s awesome.
Post time for the Champion Stakes on Saturday: 11:05 AM ET/4:05 PM BT.
Only the ground is a concern: “… if it’s heavy, we are in no man’s land.”
2:25 PM Addendum: Grimthorpe raises the possibility of scratching Frankel, depending on the course condition. Would that be it, then, for the colt? Or would a scratch open up the possibility of a Breeders’ Cup tilt? (Ever hopeful.) Tweets @corneliusracing: “don’t believe #Ascot run ‘hangs in the balance’ …”
10/20/12 Update: Frankel will definitely run.
Enthusiasts will have to return to the humdrum of an annual champion who was the best of his group but ultimately beatable on an off day and certainly no Frankel; a return to championship races which are open to more than one horse; to speculative punting instead of money-laundering on 1-20 shots, to a time of oligopoly instead of monopoly, and to a time when valid debates can be held over who is the ‘best’ horse in a given year.
Also an apt description of the America scene since November 6, 2010.
Of course, the footage is not terrific and we don’t know much more than that Frankel is still alive and a bit faster than Midsummer Sun. Still, you have now seen as much as those gallop-watchers who fell out of bed at 5.30am, which is pretty satisfying. Plus, you get to watch it while glugging coffee and munching donuts, instead of being exposed to Siberian winds across the blasted heath.
More! Photos from the gallop.
This morning’s work went about as you’d expect: “Everything went very well, it was a good bit of work and we were all very happy. It’s so far, so good.”
Ten days until Frankel’s final start.
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10/11/12 Addendum: How great is Frankel? “Watching Frankel do his thing is almost like watching a driver dominate a Formula 1 race, or Michael Johnson run the 400 meters.”
Azeri, Ginger Punch, Lethal Heat, Moscow Burning, Stardom Bound … Kate Hunter on the Yoshida brothers’ starry broodmare band (PDF).
But the horse will tell us what he wants to do. “It’s an absolute crock. Frankel has been saying all year I can do what YOU want me to” (via).
It’s not about the surface. What Dullahan really wants is distance. Given his one-run style, this makes sense. It doesn’t raise his prospects in any of the three Breeders’ Cup races he might enter, though.
East vs. West, Sid Fernando, March 2012: “… it’s striking that even cheaper dirt tracks in the East have lower overall rates than most anything out West.” Hm.
This Frankel development feels a bit like the Mosses announcing Zenyatta would race in 2010, after she was given a retirement party post-Breeders’ Cup Classic win … and then outlining the same campaign she’d run in 2009.
Addendum: Speaking of Frankel, Zenyatta and what-could-have, Marcus Hersh tweets, “Paris would’ve been biggest racing moment since Zenyatta’s 2nd BC Classic.” Ascot is now wondering where everyone who wants tickets will sit.
“Prince Khalid loves the Breeders’ Cup and we would love to take Frankel to Santa Anita, Bobby Frankel’s home town — the emotional ties would be fantastic.
“But unfortunately the right race is not there — we are not going to race him on dirt. It’s a pity, because if they had Polytrack we’d have been there.”
No dirt. Even a $5 million purse and sentiment aren’t enough.
“I suppose steer is the word, isn’t it?,” Tom Queally said to Racing UK analyst Nick Luck after riding Frankel this afternoon to his 13th win in the Juddmonte International at York (replay link; no video embedding allowed). It was the first time Frankel went beyond a mile in what’s been a smashing three-season career (take a moment to relish that — we’ve been watching him since he was a juvenile), answering the distance question that’s dogged the unbeaten colt. Confirmed! With a handride! Frankel is more than a brilliant miler — in the Juddmonte, he proved that he can turn on the speed at 10 furlongs as easily as he does at eight. And what acceleration — he ran the “furlong … between three out and two out … in 11.05 seconds, which equates to 40.73mph.”
The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe or the Champion Stakes are reportedly both possibilities for his next start, which is expected to be his last. In whichever race he ends his career, Frankel will surely be remembered as one of the greats, even if — as Chris McGrath wrote before the Juddmonte, with the obligatory caveats about second-guessing a horseman with the stature of Sir Henry Cecil — we’ll likely never know his bottom:
Plenty of people at York today will claim they are looking at the greatest racehorse in history. Hitherto, however, the only measure of Frankel has been the increasing margins by which he has humiliated Excelebration. Yes, he finally tries something different today, partly because the race is sponsored by Khalid Abdullah, the Saudi prince who will be retiring Frankel to his Juddmonte Farms at the end of the season. But Cecil anticipates running him only once more, again on Champions’ Day. In which case, he will leave us without beginning to approach the limits of his potential.
I hope they confirm his final race soon enough to make travel plans. We might not get to see the limits of his potential, but I’d like to see him, once, live.